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Fundraising with small society lotteries

Small society lotteries do not require a licence but must be registered with the local authority in the area where the principal office of the society is located.

What is a society lottery? 

Society lotteries are promoted for the benefit of a non-commercial society. A society is non-commercial if it is established and conducted for:

  • charitable purposes
  • enabling participation in sport or a cultural activity (for example theatre)
  • any non-commercial purpose other than that of private gain. 

A small society lottery:

  • does not have proceeds that exceed £20,000 for a single draw
  • does not have aggregated proceeds in excess of £250,000 in a calendar year.

Small society lotteries do not require a licence but must be registered with the local authority in the area where the principal office of the society is located. Details of registration requirements and procedures should be available from the licensing department of the relevant local authority. 

Application forms for registration to run a small society lottery can be obtained from your local licensing authority. 

Lotteries that exceed the small society lottery limit 

If your society lottery has proceeds which exceed £20,000 for a single draw or aggregated proceeds exceed £250,000 in a calendar year then you need to apply for a licence from us. 

Societies may employ an external lottery manager (ELM) to run all or part of their lottery. ELMs must be licensed by us. 

If you are organising a small society lottery it is your responsibility to ensure you are compliant with the law. If in doubt, you should seek legal advice.

Also see

Organising small lotteries

Advice on lotteries that do not require a licence or registration

238 KB Download

Running a lottery

A quick guide to running a lottery

416 KB Download